Renad Abdullah
Flashcards by Renad Abdullah, updated more than 1 year ago
Renad Abdullah
Created by Renad Abdullah over 5 years ago



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Pronunciation English contains a number of sounds and sound distinctions not present in some other languages. Speakers of languages without these sounds may have problems both with hearing and with pronouncing them. For example: The interdentals, /θ/ and /ð/ (both written as th) are relatively rare in other languages
Phonemic contrast of /i/ with /ɪ/ (beat vs bit vowels), of /u/ with /ʊ/ (fool vs full vowels), and of /ɛ/ with /æ/ (bet vs bat vowels) is rare outside northwestern Europe, so unusual mergers or exotic pronunciations such as [bet] for bit may arise. Note that [bɪt] is a pronunciation often used in England and Wales for bet, and also in some dialects of American English. Native speakers of Japanese, Korean, and most Chinese dialects have difficulty distinguishing /r/ and /l/, also present for speakers of some Caribbean Spanish dialects (only at the end of syllables), what is known as lallation. Native speakers of Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish or Galician, and Ukrainian may pronounce [h]-like sounds where a /r/, /s/, or /ɡ/, respectively, would be expected, as those sounds often or almost always follow this process in their native languages, what is known as debuccalization.
Native speakers of Arabic, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean, and important dialects of all current Iberian Romance languages (including about all of Spanish) have difficulty distinguishing [b] and [v], what is known as betacism. Native speakers of almost all of Brazilian Portuguese, of some African Portuguese registers, of Portuguese-derived creole languages, some dialects of Swiss German, and several pontual processes in several Slavic languages, such as Bulgarian and Ukrainian, and many dialects of other languages, have instances of /l/ or /ɫ/ always becoming [w] at the end of a syllable in a given context, so that milk may be variously pronounced as [mɪu̯k], [mɪʊ̯k], or [mɪo̯k]. This is present in some English registers—known as l-vocalization—but may be shunned as substandard or bring confusion in others. Native speakers of many widely spoken languages (including Dutch and all the Romance ones) distinguish voiceless stop pairs /p/, /t/, /k/ from their voiced counterparts /b/, /d/, /ɡ/ merely by their sound (and in Iberian Romance languages, the latter trio does not even need to be stopped, so its native speakers unconsciously pronounce them as [β], [ð], and [ɣ ~ ɰ] – voiced fricatives or approximants in the very same mouth positions – instead much or most of the time, that native English speakers may erroneously interpret as the /v/ or /w/, /ð/ and /h/, /w/, or /r/ of their language). In English, German, Danish, and some other languages, though, the main distinguishing feature in the case of initial or stressed stopped voiceless consonants from their voiced counterparts is that they are aspirated [pʰ tʰ kʰ] (unless if immediately preceded or followed by /s/), while the voiced ones are not. As a result, much of the non-English /p/, /t/ and /k/ will sound to native English ears as /b/, /d/ and /ɡ/ instead (i.e. parking may sound more like barking).
Turkish and Azeri speakers may have trouble distinguishing between /v/ and /w/ as both pronunciations are used interchangeably for the letter v in those languages. Languages may also differ in syllable structure; English allows for a cluster of up to three consonants before the vowel and five after it (e.g. strengths, straw, desks, glimpsed, sixths). Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese, for example, broadly alternate consonant and vowel sounds so learners from Japan and Brazil often force vowels between the consonants (e.g. desks becomes [desukusu] or [dɛskis], and milk shake becomes [miɽukuɕeːku] or [miwki ɕejki], respectively). Similarly, in most Iberian dialects, a word can begin with [s], and [s] can be followed by a consonant, but a word can never begin with [s] immediately followed by a consonant, so learners whose mother tongue is in this language family often have a vowel in front of the word (e.g. school becomes [eskul], [iskuɫ ~ iskuw], [ɯskuɫ] or [əskuɫ] for native speakers of Spanish, Brazilian and European Portuguese, and Catalan, respectively).
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